Before writing this article I was trying to remember my
teachers, did they inspire me? Did they make a change in my life? Or did they
just teach me a subject in a way that didn’t make me love life because it has
that subject? I couldn’t remember frankly, and you can blame it on my old age,
but I can tell you one thing, if someone did something nice to you, of course
you will remember that person for the rest of your life. If I press my brain, I
will remember my physics teacher, she was very capable, and when I asked her
what she studied, she said physics and then teaching. Here lies the problem.

Teaching is not just a profession, it’s a passion, ability,
love for explaining, love for people, love for excellence, love for pushing the
students to the limits, love for books, and love for new developments. Teaching
is not just taking a class roaster and a curriculum that needs to finish by end
of the year. Its way more than that. Teaching requires the person to give
everything to make that student the best he or she can be.

In the west a teacher becomes a teacher after finishing a bachelor and a master’s degree in the subject to be taught, and then takes a diploma in teaching. Those that want to teach have to undergo various tests and have great results in their degrees. On top of this only the best will be chosen to teach as everyone recognizes the great responsibility a teacher has on his/her shoulder.  The responsibility of raising a generation of scholars that will change the world.  We are not just teaching for the sake of teaching, we are providing inspiration for future generations of workers, athletes, teachers, doctors, dentists, engineers and so on.  If the input is bad, the output will be worse than bad, it will be intolerable.  See below the case for Finnish education and the way teachers are selected (this was taken from NCEE.org main website, and it shows the main difference in selections of teachers:

“High quality teachers are the hallmark of
Finland’s education system. Annual national opinion polls have repeatedly
shown that teaching is Finland’s most admired profession, and primary school
teaching is the most sought-after career. The attractiveness of teaching likely
has much more to do with the selection process, the work itself, and the
working conditions than teacher pay (which is similar to that in many other
European countries) or simply respect for teachers. Because Finland has
very high standards that must be met to enter teacher preparation programs,
just getting in is a prestigious accomplishment. The fact that Finland
has moved teacher education into research universities also confers prestige on
young people who go into teaching. Finland is also at the frontier of
curriculum design to support creativity and innovation, which means teachers
have an attractive job resembling other high-status professions, involving
autonomy, collaboration, research, development, and design. Finland is also
willing to trust teachers and their professional judgments to a degree that is
rare among the nations of the world. It should be no surprise that Finland has
a very high retention rate for teachers, with a 2013 survey showing that about
90 percent of trained teachers remain in the profession for the duration of
their careers.

Teacher
Recruitment and Compensation

Finnish teacher education
programs are extremely selective, admitting only one out of every ten students
who apply. The result is that Finland recruits from the top quartile of the
college-bound cohort. Applicants are assessed based on their upper secondary
school record, their extra-curricular activities, and their score on the
Matriculation Exam, which is taken at the end of upper secondary school.
Applicants must also take the Vakavaentrance
exam, a take-home, multiple-choice exam that assesses their ability to think
critically and evaluate arguments in the education sciences. Once an applicant
makes it beyond this first screening round, they are then observed in a
teaching-like activity and interviewed; only candidates with a clear aptitude
for teaching in addition to strong academic performance are admitted.

Teacher salaries are
competitive compared to other professions in Finland, but are fairly average
compared to other European countries. Lower secondary school teachers with the
minimum amount of required education are paid $35,676 in their first year; at
the top of the pay scale, they can expect $46,400 a year. The OECD average for
a beginning lower secondary teacher is $32,202; at the top of the scale, the
average is $55,122. Teacher salaries are somewhat lower than other professional
salaries in Finland, but the profession itself is highly regarded and granted a
level of respect well above that of teaching in the U.S.

Teacher
Initial Education and Training

In the 1970s, teacher
education was moved from seminarium,
or teachers’ colleges, into universities and teachers were required to hold a
master’s degree. Only eight universities have teacher education programs (five
vocational colleges offer teacher certification for aspiring teachers of
vocational subjects who already have the appropriate qualifications from their
respective industry), so quality control and consistent standards are easy to
achieve.

Primary school teachers
are required to major in education, with a minor in two primary school
curriculum subject areas. Secondary school teachers are required to major in
the subject they will teach, and to complete a fifth year of education designed
to ensure that they have mastered their craft, either alongside their major
fieldwork or after they have completed four years of subject coursework. This
five-year program results in a master’s degree. Teacher education is heavily
research-based, with a strong emphasis on pedagogical content knowledge.
Students must also spend a full year teaching in a teacher training school associated
with their universities before graduation. These schools are public schools
that are subject to national curriculum and teaching requirements just like any
other municipal school. However, they have been particularly designed
pedagogically to support both pupils and teacher-students in their learning.
They are university-affiliated model schools, where prospective teachers and
researchers develop and model new practices and complete research on teaching
and learning. Teacher education programs in Finland are monitored by the Higher
Education Evaluation Council.

Teacher
Career Ladders

Because the Finnish system
places so much emphasis on school and teacher autonomy, there are not clearly
defined career ladders. Teachers have control over their classrooms, lesson
plans, and hours outside of teaching. Successful teachers may become
principals, who are appointed by the local municipal authority. Principals do
have decision-making responsibilities for the school budget, but they do not
have a great deal of authority over the teachers – there is no tradition of
principals observing teachers in order to evaluate them. In smaller schools,
often principals have their own teaching load in addition to their other
duties.

Teacher
Professional Development

Professional development
requirements differ by municipality. The national government requires each
municipality to fund at least three days of mandatory professional development
each year, but beyond that, time spent on professional development varies
widely. Similarly, the government does not regulate what types of professional
development teachers engage in. Research indicates that the average Finnish
teacher spends seven days a year on professional development, with some
municipalities arranging large, multi-school training events and others leaving
it up to schools to develop in-service programs. However, teachers’ schedules
in Finland enable a great deal of teacher collaboration to support their
professional growth. The school day allows time for planning, collaborating,
and meeting with other teachers to discuss challenges or successes, and other
professional work, such as reading and doing research and most schools do this.

School
Leader Development

Principals in Finland are
required to have teaching qualifications to teach at the level of school they
will lead. In addition, principals must meet one of three qualification
requirements: a Certificate of Educational Administration issued by the Finnish
National Board of Education (this primarily certifies knowledge of Finnish
educational law and policies), completion of a program in Educational
Leadership at a university, or proven experience in educational administration.
In practice, almost no principals are hired without a Certificate of
Educational Administration or a qualification in Education Leadership from a
university, and the university qualification is much more highly valued. Vice
principals are required to have the same qualifications. Municipalities, which
conduct principal hiring, can specify additional requirements for candidates
depending on their own needs.

The most valued path to
principalship is through completion of a program in Educational Leadership at a
university. These programs are typically 18-month programs that candidates
enroll in part-time while they are teaching. The curriculum at the University
of Jyvaskyla, for example, focuses on management and leadership issues, and
requires principals to participate in weekend seminars and do a field practicum
with a cooperating school. The practicum consists of five field visits to a
cooperating principal, each focused on a different aspect of the job. Student
discussions are guided by “tutors” who are senior principals in Finland, many
of whom are working towards a doctorate degree in education. In addition to a
final exam, candidates must develop and present a personal leadership
philosophy, based on their own research and experience in the program.

Principals in Finland are expected to manage professionals by
protecting time for teachers to participate in collaborative learning,
observing teachers’ classrooms and collaboratively setting goals for
improvement with them and identifying teacher leaders and giving them
additional roles and responsibilities. Principals facilitate professional
learning communities of teachers who use these opportunities to evaluate their
teaching and make improvements regularly. There is an assumption that Finland’s
aspiring principals have already learned many of these skills in their work as
teachers, and will refine their skills in this area through pre-service and
on-going training”

In the Arab world, teaching is a degree at the college of
education, and those that cannot enter other majors settle for teaching.  What happens next? We will have a disgruntled
person who did something he or she don’t love, and the result is apparent.  We will never have great students.

So let’s go back to square one, and make “teaching” the best
major that people queue to take it.  We
need a generation of teachers that inspires everyone, and we need the teacher
to be admired for what he or she do.

Various majors in the field of education:

  • Early childhood education
  • Class teacher
  • Various subject teacher
    (Biology, chemistry, mathematics, Geography, etc.)
  • Pedagogical programmes

If you feel that you have the qualities to become a teacher, then please
remember, take a master’s programme in your field and then enter the college of
education.

The post Are you really a teacher? appeared first on ezone.



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